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Volvo welcomes Queensland Zero-Emissions Heavy Vehicle roadmap

Queensland’s new zero-emissions roadmap for heavy vehicles is set to give manufacturers like Volvo greater opportunities in the Australian zero-emissions market

Since September 2023, state governments including New South Wales and South Australia have started to trial zero-emissions heavy vehicles (ZEHV) on their roads.  

More recently, the Victorian government became the first state to release a ZEHV network road map in November 2023.  

Queensland has followed up with its ZEHV roadmap which was released last Friday. This announcement has been welcomed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Volvo. 

“This decision enhances the already published Low or Zero Emission Heavy Vehicle Network in Victoria. New South Wales and SA are currently conducting ZEHV trials on parts of their network,” NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto told ATN. 

“This work will be important in delivering consistency for the transport industry and further driving the uptake of newer, safer and smarter heavy vehicles.” 

For global OEMs like Volvo, the roadmap’s release hasn’t come as a surprise after a lot of hard work was put into it by Queensland’s Transport and Main Roads department (TMR) and the NHVR. Throughout their collaboration, both sought industry feedback on which areas the network map would be most effective for transport operators. 

Volvo Group public affairs vice president Lauren Pulitano says the brand also worked closely with the NHVR and TMR departments before the map’s release, providing them with data and detailed benefits of the map. Engineers from all three organisations also worked with one another. 

“The NHVR and TMR department did a lot of homework before the release of this network map,” Pulitano told ATN. 

“This map will allow zero-emissions trucks to go where they would like to go and where the heightened demand is.” 

The map focuses on increasing axle weight masses along routes in the south-east corner of Queensland, spanning from the Gold Coast to Bundaberg and going as far west as Toowoomba and Warwick.  

Pulitano says Volvo will gain many benefits from the roadmap’s release, including the potential to have a zero-emissions truck network from south-east Queensland to South Australia. Volvo’s aim of reaching zero-emissions operations by 2040 is something that can also be reached courtesy of the roadmap’s release.  

The announcement means Volvo’s full range of electric trucks will become available for Queensland operators while its Wacol facility is also set to undergo a transformation to accommodate the manufacturing of these trucks. These changes were originally slated by Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Merrick before the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show. Now, this announcement may unlock Volvo’s ability to fulfil its goals.  

“The transport industry is currently on track to be the nation’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions,” Pulitano says. 

“With these announcements, it’s putting us in a state where we can avoid that from happening.” 

Pulitano says more benefits will also come in due course for people as trials begin to ramp up across NSW, SA, Victoria and Queensland, with Pulitano saying that Volvo’s Queensland customers can now also begin to see the benefits of owning and running electric trucks. 

Among those is Followmont Transport, who last week became the first Australian operator to take delivery of Volvo’s FH Electric prime mover. Followmont managing director Mark Tobin says the operator is excited about introducing electric trucks into his fleet as well as the network map. Pulitano says similar deliveries to Queensland customers could soon follow suit. 

“There’s definitely a lot more customers and operators that are wanting to and have made some commitments to purchase these electric trucks,” Pulitano says. 

Further collaboration between the NHVR and TMR is also set to take place, with the regulator looking to incorporate the Queensland roadmap into its National Network Map. 

“This incorporation aims to facilitate seamless access efficiency and decision-making for the industry,” Petroccitto says. 

Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania now remain as the only states without zero-emissions heavy vehicle trials or roadmaps. Pulitano says Volvo is hoping that this latest announcement in Queensland spurs the rest of the country to act and create a unified zero-emissions heavy vehicle plan for the future. 

“I often say that freight and logistics don’t work within borders and boundaries, and yet, these regulations that differ between states and jurisdictions are creating boundaries,” Pulitano says. 

“I think the ultimate dream and goal is that we do reach national harmonisation for all zero-emissions vehicle regulations.” 

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